EBA President at GIE Conference in Dublin: “The biomethane industry can be a pillar of EU energy”

Biomethane is a growing industry that could help to increasingly meet Europe’s gas needs while also providing a greener source of energy, Jan Štambaský, President of the European Biogas Association (EBA), has said.

Speaking at the GIE Conference in Dublin, Mr. Štambaský said that while biomethane costs more in production than natural gas, it could still be a competitive source of energy for Europe.

“Bio-methane offers competitiveness to natural gas because it’s an inherently secure supply that’s completely domestic,” he said.

Additionally, it could help to fuel jobs, according to Mr. Štambaský. He pointed to the Corrib gas field in Europe, which has employed 6,000 people to bring the gas field online.

“Our industry, which is smaller than that gas field, is currently employing 76,000 people.”

Though it’s an emerging fuel, there has been some rapid growth in the biomethane field. Right now, the European Biogas Association represents 37 companies in 25 countries. By the end of 2014, there were more than 15,000 biogas plants all over Europe producing 15 billion m3 of gas.

That’s set to grow further, Mr. Štambaský said.

“The leading countries are Germany and Italy with many more coming. Most of Europe is still waiting for its chance.”

Though biomethane has the same value as natural gas in terms of physical value, he explained, there’s also its massive “bio-value, which you can call green, renewable, sustainable. Of course, you have to pay for this additional value. The cost of production of bio-methane will always be above natural gas prices for these reasons.”

Biomethane (or biogas, which is the untreated form) is a naturally occurring gas which is produced by anaerobic digestion of organic matter. Unlike natural gas, which comes from fossilised waste, biomethane comes from newer organic matter—dead animals and plants and organic waste, to name but a few. It has a number of uses, Mr. Štambaský explained: green fuel for power plants, for balancing power, as biofuel, and more. Also, “It’s the easiest way to provide green heating for residential heating, following all the requirements of the European Commission.”

And as it can effectively meet greenhouse gas footprint requirements, its use could be greater in the future and could keep pace with renewable energy sources, he said. With a number of benefits, biomethane offers high greenhouse gas savings for natural gas blends, enabling gas greening and has tremendous technical potential.

As such, “the biomethane industry can be a pillar of EU energy,” Mr. Štambaský said.

Source: Natural Gas Europe
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